Let no one think on starting of the reward to be reaped: this would be a very ignoble way of commencing such a large and stately building.

If built on sand it would soon fall down. Souls who acted thus would continually suffer from discouragement and temptations, for in these mansions no manna rains

What a farce it is! Here are we, with a thousand obstacles, drawbacks, and imperfections within ourselves, our virtues so newly born that they have scarcely the strength to act (and God grant that they exist at all!) yet we are not ashamed to expect sweetness in prayer and to complain of feeling dryness.

Do not act thus, sisters; embrace the cross your Spouse bore on His shoulders; know that your motto should be: ‘Most happy she who suffers most if it be for Christ!’

All else should be looked upon as secondary: if our Lord give it you, render Him grateful thanks. You may imagine you would be resolute in enduring external trials if God gave you interior consolations:

His Majesty knows best what is good for us; it is not for us to advise Him how to treat us, for He has the right to tell us that we know not what we ask.

Remember, it is of the greatest importance – the sole aim of one beginning to practise prayer should be to endure trials, and to resolve and strive to the utmost of her power to conform her own will to the will of God.

Be certain that in this consists all the greatest perfection to be attained in the spiritual life, as I will explain later.

She who practises this most perfectly will receive from God the highest reward and is the farthest advanced on the right road.

Teresa of Avila (1515-1582): Interior Castle 2,1,13-15.